Last week at its I/O developer conference, Google announced the revamped, artificial intelligence-powered Google News would arrive on Apple’s App Store some sometime in next seven days. That sometime is apparently now. The new Google News has gone live on iOS. It replaced the old Google Play Newsstand app. Available for both the iPhone and iPad, it’s dramatically better than the former Google News app experience.
The app aims to offer personalized content to users from “quality sources they trust” and ensures that the news app also “works for publishers” and it supports their efforts as well. It also seeks to deepen and broaden reader perspectives with “full coverage” of almost every issue.
The app competes directly with Apple’s excellent news app. Many people are discussing how it compares and whether it will and can replace Apple News for iPhone owners. The improvement is dramatic, both in terms of the UI and UX. Google uses your interests and history to create a “for you” personalized headlines feed together with top stories. The company describes the feature as “a mix of the most important headlines, local news and the latest developments on the topics you’re interested in.”
The local news is indeed one of the standout features of Google News. The feature was previously introduced on the web with a News redesign last year. Some people have commented that there’s no comparable local news feature in Apple’s news app. Users need to create a local news favourite/topic to see a structured collection of local news stories in the Apple News app.
There is an icon to expand the story into “full coverage”. The “Full coverage” feature offers a nearly exhaustive list of the sources and perspectives of the topic/issue. “This is real-time, 360-degree view of the news stories and topic,” says Google. Everyone sees the same content in full coverage, unlike the personalised feeds elsewhere. Google calls the feature as “the most powerful feature of the app“.
In the horizontal navigation, a newsstand option opens to a branded publisher “magazine rack”. In the rack, readers can browse for content to add to their feeds. Also, they can follow the topics and publishers. For the publications that require a paid subscription to access the content, a pop-up within the app will enable the users to sign-in or subscribe to the site via a Google payment account.
Indeed Google News seeks to capture and retain usage, but it’s also a tool for exposing readers to content they might otherwise miss or may not have seen. Google says that the new app is a collaboration between the company and more than 60 publishers.
Google News introductory video: